NBCUniversal’s Ad Sales Queen Upended the Industry Once Before. Now She’s at It Again

Linda Yaccarino on the upfronts and her battles with Nielsen and digital advertising

When the dust settled after this summer’s upfront negotiations concluded, it’s no surprise which ad sales chief had once again secured the biggest windfall. That would be Linda Yaccarino, chairman of advertising sales and client partnerships for NBCUniversal, who wrapped upfront sales of close to $6.5 billion for her company’s portfolio of two broadcast networks, 15 cable networks and more than 50 digital properties.

As NBC reclaimed the 18-49 demo lead last season among broadcasters, Yaccarino leveraged buyer demand for shows like breakout drama This Is Us and resurgent Saturday Night Live to secure CPM upfront increases in the high single digits, while volume was up 8 percent across the company’s entire portfolio.

Factoring in the upfront business for NBCUniversal’s three major sporting events in 2018—the Super Bowl, the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics and Telemundo’s Spanish-language rights to the World Cup—that $6.5



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This story first appeared in the Aug. 21, 2017, issue of Adweek magazine. Click here to subscribe.